Career opportunities in occupational therapy are growing quickly, particularly with newly expanded access to health care and the aging population of baby boomers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for occupational therapists will expand 29 percent in the next 10 years, and positions for occupational therapy assistants will increase by 41 percent. Students interested in joining Sacramento’s 440 occupational therapists and 120 occupational therapy assistants must first enroll in an occupational therapy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. A list of approved occupational therapy colleges with master’s degree and doctoral degree programs is available through the American Occupational Therapy Association.
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To qualify for occupational therapy licenses in California, students need to take occupational therapy classes at an approved program, complete the relevant occupational therapy degree provisions, perform required occupational therapy training in the field and earn a passing score on the national occupational therapy test. The exam is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, or NBCOT. Once all of the educational and testing provisions are met, students can apply for a license through the State of California’s Board of Occupational Therapy.
Salaries for Occupational Therapy Jobs in Sacramento
From hospitals and physician offices to nursing homes and home health services, occupational therapists and assistants work in a variety of local settings. As of May 2013, Sacramento-area occupational therapists earned a mean wage of $74,540, with the top 10 percent earning $115, 260. The state mean salary is $89,620, and the national mean salary is $77,890. Occupational therapy assistants in the region earn a salary of $61,660, while the mean state salary is $66,020 and the national salary is $55,250.
List of Occupational Therapy Programs in California
Private master’s degree occupational therapy schools include Samuel Merritt University, Dominican University, University of Southern California, Loma Linda University and University of St. Augusting for Health Sciences, California Campus. The only public occupational therapy university offering a master’s degree program is California State University, Dominguez Hills. For assistant-level education, students have the local occupational therapy college option of Sacramento City College. Elsewhere in the state, Grossmont and Santa Ana colleges are two community college options. Stanbridge College is the only private institution to offer occupational therapy courses for assistants.